Kiss goodbye to awkward: Witty Scope Valentine’s cards challenge disability taboos

Disabled charity Scope has released a set of tongue-in-cheek cards designed to get Brits to ‘kiss the awkward goodbye’ this Valentine’s Day.

Featuring slogans like ‘I love you (and it’s not just for the free parking)’ and ‘I’ve fallen head over wheels for you’, the set of four illustrated postcards are free with every purchase made at Scope’s Camden store, and are also available to share online.

Kieran McMahon, Director of Disability Stockport said a lot of the discomfort was down to a lack of understanding and numerous myths and misconceptions which have yet to be properly tackled.

Mr McMahon said: “Essentially, we must acknowledge that disability is a relative state possible at some stage in all our lives, and our state of ignorance or discomfort is borne out of an artificial distinction between ‘disabled’ and ‘able-bodied’.

“This forces us to create two social subcategories, and these are barriers which campaigns like ‘End the Awkward’ aim to tear down.”

WHEELY GOOD: The humorous range of four cards is tackling awkwardness with comedy

But while the tone of the campaign is markedly droll, it addresses the more serious issue of how disabled people are treated in Britain today.

Research published by Scope today found that two thirds of the British public would feel uncomfortable talking to a disabled person, largely due to the fear of saying or doing something inappropriate.

It also reveals a huge 76% have never invited a disabled person to a social occasion, and half have never started a conversation with someone who is disabled.

Previous research by the charity had found that young people aged between 18 and 34 are far more likely to have negative attitudes towards disability.

This would suggest that social awareness regarding disability has failed to gather the same momentum as those surrounding other issues such as race, gender and sexuality.

‘TEAR DOWN THE TABOOS’: Scope’s research, released today, reveals there’s work still to do in breaking down the awkwardness

The light-hearted delivery of Scope’s ‘End the Awkward’ campaign, inspired by disabled comedians such as Alex Brooker, Jack Carroll and Francesca Martinez, in part seeks to use humour to break the taboo to access a younger audience who may have had little to no exposure to disability on a personal level.

The Valentine’s Day collection is the latest instalment of the innovative campaign, launched in May 2014 with a series of similarly humorous adverts fronted by Brooker, comedian and star of Channel 4’s The Last Leg.

In the episodes, which are supplemented by a host of online content, Brooker guides viewers through a series of potentially awkward scenarios they may encounter with disabled people. One, for example, tackles the issue of whether to bend down to talk to a person in a wheelchair.

END THE AWKWARD: Channel 4 comedian Alex Brooker is fronting the campaign (©The Last Leg, via YouTube, with thanks)

The Valentine’s Day campaign also features a frank and endearing film in which a number of disabled people, including TV presenter Sophie Morgan, musician and actor Mat Fraser and filmmaker Kate Monaghan lay bare their own awkward experiences when it comes to dating, relationships, sex and stigma.

New research by the charity, published today, reveals that only 5% of people who aren’t disabled have ever asked out or been on a date with a disabled person.

In the film, Sophie Morgan says: “I was sat in a bar, next to a guy, out of my chair on a sofa and he was chatting me up. 

“And then I shouted to my friends to go and get my chair. As they brought it along and I transferred into it, he stared at me, stared at the chair… stared at me again, and then just stood up and walked off.”

Richard Hawkes, Scope’s CEO, said: “Not enough people know a disabled person, or know enough about disability. This can mean people worry about saying or doing the wrong thing and
feel awkward.

“We wanted to raise this issue in a light-hearted way. Scope’s End The Awkward campaign gets us all thinking about what we can do to include disabled people in our lives – whether it’s just as
friends or something more.”

More information on Scope’s ‘End the Awkward’ campaign and the Valentine’s Day card collection can be found here.

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